1993 Mazda RX-7 R1

Molly hung up the phone feeling uneasy.  “I hope I just did the right thing,” she said to Glen.

“What’s that?”

“Dobie gave Lexi some sort of present from Ren.  He died before he could give it to her himself.”

“Oh, yes, I knew about that.”

She gaped at him.  “You knew?”

He sensed very strongly that this wasn’t a good thing, his knowing, and took an instinctive step back.  “Not like that, I mean.  Dobie asked me what I thought he should do with it, back in August, I think it was.  Right after the collection got auctioned off, he approached me about it.  He didn’t offer to give it to me, just wanted to know if I thought he should give it to her or not.”

“What did you tell him?”

“I honestly don’t remember.  I was mostly wondering why Dobie Cassarell had suddenly showed up in my office, apropos of nothing.  I figured he had some agenda other than the briefcase.”

Molly put her hands on her hips, then realized she looked far too stern and took them down.  “And did he?”

“Yes.  He wanted a Road Associates nomination.  Aren’t we off on a tangent now?  You were going to tell me what the right thing may or may not have been.”

“Oh, right.  Sorry.  No, I take that back, I’m not sorry.  In case you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of overprotective of Lex, especially after the things that happened to her this summer.  I can’t help feeling like I could’ve helped prevent some of it.  Anyway, Dobie must have made up his mind, because she’s got this present now, and she’s pretty much crying tears of joy over the thing on the outside.  On the inside, I’m afraid she’s losing him all over again.  Very slowly.  And I want to tell her that it’s time to move on, to let him go, but something tells me that this would not be a good sentiment to push right now.  In a few days, after she’s figured out what all the mysteries are, maybe.  And so, I hope I’m doing the right thing by letting her wallow in what’s past for a while longer.”

“I think you are.”

“Thanks.  It’s just hard not to think about the cobblestones in the road to Hell.”  Molly shivered, rubbing her arms under the sleeves of her sweater.  It was chilly in Glen’s house.  “I guess she spent the past two days helping Dobie with his collection.  The cars had to be made compliant with some new regulations for classic cars.”

Glen nodded as he moved discreetly to the thermostat.  “Heard about that, too.  Bill’s working on an article about it.  It’s some of the most restrictive old-car legislation in the world, now.  A lot of Solei collectors are angry.  The spirit behind it makes sense, but it’s kind of a dragnet and they’re catching everyone.”

“What’s the spirit of it?”

“They want to get the older cars off the road–the big polluters, basically.  The idea being that since Ile du Soleil is generally short on vegetation, their large cities are going to get dirtier faster.  And it does make sense to get poorly maintained clunkers off the road.”

“Even though those are the only cars some people can afford.”

“Not going there, that’s a whole different ball of wax.  I agree with you, but I’m just sticking to the machines on this one.  The problem is that the collector cars are also subject to the crusher laws, and they don’t make a significant contribution to pollution as they’re not driven much, and when they are they tend to be well-maintained.”

“Doesn’t an old car pollute more than a new one?”

“Assuming they’re running equal amounts of time, sure.  But a new car, out of tune and being driven every day, will pump out way more hydrocarbons than a restored Model T that’s only driven once every two months.  It’s a matter of frequency of use, and they’re not taking that into account.”

“They never do,” Molly said, thinking as she did that it sounded like something Lexi would say.  “So what were we talking about before we were interrupted?”

“I believe I was trying to talk you out of making me cook dinner for you.”

“Oh, yes!” she laughed.  “That was it.  And you lost the argument, so put on your figurative apron.”

Glen admitted defeat graciously.  “If it wasn’t snowing outside, I could do something on the grill.  If I must be honest, outdoor grilling is my forte.”

“Is it?  What do you cook when it’s snowing out, then?”

“Usually ramen.”

“That’s just terrible.”

“What can I say?  I’m easy to feed.”

She put her hands on her hips and leaned against the counter.  “I am going to make my fortune by producing a beef-flavored cereal similar to dog food, and call it Bachelor Kibble.  Instead of going through all the trouble of shopping, you guys can just buy a fifty-pound bag of this stuff and a bowl.  And if you pour beer on it, it’ll make gravy.”

“Sign me up for a half-ton or so of Molly Snow’s Bachelor Kibble, once you get FDA approval.”

“Wouldn’t you rather just have me over to cook for you?”

He considered.  “That would be nice, too.  But I’d like it well enough if you just came to visit.  You don’t have to cook.”

Molly patted his cheek.  “Aww, that’s a good answer.”  She drew her fingers slightly toward herself, hoping he’d follow it down for a kiss, but Glen didn’t move and they broke contact.  She met his eyes, trying to see if he’d done it on purpose, but as far as she could tell it had just been too subtle a hint.  “So what’s in your refrigerator?” she asked, smothering disappointment with a smile.